Your Scars Are Who You Are, But Not All You Are

Fat cats make me happy.

Fat cats make me happy.

Yesterday while wasting time on Facebook, there was a headline on the “trending” sidebar that said something like, “#DearFatPeople Video Generates Viral Response.” Earlier in the day the “Dear Fat People” video had crossed my Tumblr feed full of comments like, “Hahahahaha! Harsh, but needed to be said!” “Hilarious!” “Right on!” “She’s not wrong though.” I knew watching this video would make me want to punch someone in the nads, so I thought it best to avoid it as long as possible. I managed to hold out until I saw Shawn Halpin’s hilarious response. He hit all the points- hacky jokes, crappy acting, poor content, and lack of empathy- better then I ever could.

But as funny as the response was, I could not get her stupid video out of my head. It left me unsettled. That just pissed me off, because I know that’s what this narcissistic loon wanted. I think it’s because her rant gave a voice and a face to what I assumed that everyone was thinking about me when I was heavier. That I was lazy, dirty, smelly, that I was stupid and demanded special treatment. To be honest, there is a part of me that still assumes that is what people think of me. She starts off by saying, “Fat shaming is not a thing,” but then shames someone who sat next to her on an airplane (which I’m sure was a joy for him, as well). Look, I can only speak to my experiences, but all I know is that when I was 95.4 pounds heavier I didn’t get nearly as many doors held open or people making eye contact with me as I do now. I’ve previously written about the vendor at a Ray LaMontagne concert who wouldn’t show me women’s sized t-shirts. Those are just the things I’m comfortable sharing.

jon hamm sure

The original video creator claims to “love” and be “concerned” for obese people. Later she was bragging about all her new Twitter followers. Then shut her You Tube channel down, falsely claiming You Tube shut it down and was “censoring” her.

In the springtime, my friend and I were crossing the street and this guy was walking towards us smiling. I thought, “What the hell is this guy’s problem?” and glared at him. He did an awkward glance down at his shoes, a hard exhale and dropped his smile as he passed. Literally six hours later I realized that he was smiling at me and I looked at him like he was going to steal my purse! Sorry, random guy crossing Erie, but that’s the screen I’ve come to see things through. The comments that hurt the most usually don’t come from hostile faces. They come disguised behind smiles and a thin veil of trust that throws you off balance.

I do not know one single woman who has no body image issues. I’ve never heard any woman say, ‘YEA!!! Bathing suit shopping!!” But I have heard a lot of, “I don’t wear shorts/skirts/tank tops because my thighs/legs/arms/butt.” So hearing another woman who presumably knows the pressure women are under to be physically perfect and 25 forever use those expectations with the intention of hurting others is exceptionally disappointing. I know men aren’t immune either. A couple of my guy friends won’t let the doctor tell them what they weigh. Not because it’s high, but because they aren’t built like Thor. Society is hardcore fucked up in this area.

The bottom line is that no matter how much I lose and no matter what I look like, things like this will always hit a nerve in me. I’ll always carry the scars of the words and actions that I let hurt me. However, the difference is between me 5 years ago and me now is not so much the number on the scale as it’s a mental shift. Five years ago I would have thought, “Really? This is what people think of me?” and cried. Me now thinks (most of the time), “Really? This is what people think of me? Sucks to be them.” I hope the video creator finds peace or fame or whatever she’s looking for.

And I don’t give a fuck if you think I suck, because I know I’m amazing.- “Amazing’, Hi Fashion

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Losing 91 Pounds It’s Not What You Think (Or At Least What I Thought)

chloe

Chloe’s expression is my internal life when ever something good happens to me

I have a hard time believing things. I started a new job about a month ago and I refused to believe I actually had the job until then end of my first day. That came and went and I still refused to believe I had it until I got paid. Pretty much every time I walk in I’m surprised someone doesn’t say, “Didn’t so-and-so talk to you yesterday about not coming in any more?”

When I started this latest round of the weight loss merry-go-round, I didn’t really believe the numbers on the scale as they went down. Every week I’d weigh in and sarcastically record the numbers. “Minus 5 pounds. If you say so.” But over time, it became hard to deny that it wasn’t the scale playing an elaborate joke on me. It was actually happening. Then the day came when I not only weighed what my driver’s license claimed, but that’s when my bad at math self realized that meant I lost a grand total of 91 pounds off my highest weight.

Maybe it’s my reluctance to believe things, but I didn’t celebrate. I thought, “We’ll see what the scale says next week.” Like it was going to change it’s stupid scale mind and I’d say, “I knew it!” But I think I had all these wrong ideas about losing weight, like my life would fall into place (ha!), I’d get the ideal job (still working on it) be anxiety free (did you read the first paragraph?), be making millions (I’d settle for hundreds), and Ray LaMontagne would release his hit song, Beth (keep hope alive). But I just lost weight. That’s it.

Don’t get me wrong, being smaller is great! Going from a size 22 to a 12 is something I can’t even explain. I can walk into almost any store and buy something off the rack now. I’ll curl up in a chair and I’ll realize I couldn’t have done that while heavier. Several times I haven’t recognized myself in photos. But they’re all fleeting victories in the grand scheme of things.

You know that saying, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”? Maybe it’s because I”m not skinny (I’m still a good 15-25 pounds away from where I’d like to be and I still won’t be skinny), but let me tell you, that saying is pure, unadulterated, first class bullshit. Being a healthy weight is a good thing, but as good as really gooey pizza on a fall day? As good as a big plate of cheese fries? Nachos? Caramel apples???

hellno

Food is DAMN GOOD. When you lose weight, it’s still DAMN GOOD. There’s this misconception that all thinner people are health nuts and desire nothing but salads and fruit at all times. Wrong. They’ve just decided they want that healthy weight more then they want those cheese fries. All the healthier weight people are shaking their heads or thinking, ‘Well, no shit.” Yeah, trust me, it’s not that obvious to everyone. At least it wasn’t to me. I always thought that if I dieted long enough, that a switch would flip and I would instantly be purified from wanting less healthy foods. If that happens, I will totally tell you, but I’m not holding my breath anymore.

Cheese fries in a taco shell bowl! Where can I get this deliciousness???

Cheese fries in a taco shell bowl! Where can I get this deliciousness???

Being very overweight you get drafted into a club you don’t even know you’re in. When you see another overweight person, you automatically know at least a portion of their struggles and have this unspoken link. Going somewhere new, I would always think, “I hope there is another big person there.” Why? It’s not like we were going to hang out. Maybe if the healthy weight people decided to form a shame circle Twilight Zone style or stage an impromptu intervention, I’d have someone to go through it with? Being a part of that club was a huge part of my identity and I didn’t realize it until, just like I got drafted in, I got quietly booted out. I have this urge to tell people that I used to be heavier, to say something in a hushed conspiratorial tone. “You know, I get it. I’m down with the struggle, man.” If they didn’t think I was trying to sell them drugs and actually managed to figure out what I was talking about, they’d think I was a braggy dick. So this is one area I generally keep my big yapper shut unless it comes up and it usually doesn’t. I’m not even sure how it would come up. “Hey, did you used to be fatter?” is generally not something you ask people.

Beth’s Guide to Weight Loss…or Something

underweight

I realized I’ve lost 70 pounds. You would think that would be a little hard to miss, but if you’ve read here before then you know I’m not always on speaking terms with obvious. What made it less obvious is that it was slowly over a lot of years and had many stalls and restarts and twists and turns and jumping off one path and on to another…and I’m still not done. I’ve got about 30-40 pounds to go. But slowly is better then never and time is going to pass regardless.

I’ve always been somewhere between chubby and sideshow fat lady (with my Greek genes I’m just glad I’m not the bearded lady) and have tried just about every weight loss plan known to man, both healthy and not so healthy. Really, if you want to know how to lose weight, ask a fat person, because we’ve tried them all- for a few hours at least.

If I could impart one bit of wisdom to those who want to eat healthier or lose weight it would be this:

WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE EATING. 

Most of us are eating way more and way more junk then we realize. When I first started this whole thing, I went to Weight Watchers (which is a great program) and the weeks that I had the biggest losses were weeks that I religiously wrote down every single bite that went in my mouth.

I’ve recently been using My Fitness Pal, which is a website and app that helps you record your exercise and calories/food to achieve your fitness goals. I was only using it to track my exercise and one day thought, “Hmm…I should put my food for a few days just to see.” Dear God! No wonder I haven’t lost any weight lately! Low carb/high protein works best for me and I was hardly getting any protein and my carbs were TWICE what I thought they were. Now I’m trying to kick my 2 a day Kind Bar habit because I was getting a ridiculous amount of carbs from that alone. I guess it shouldn’t be shocking- the good ones are all coated in chocolate. See what I mean about me and obvious not always getting together?

Another little bit of wisdom I wish someone would have told me years ago:

Just because you are working out, don’t expect to lose more weight. 

Maybe it’s just me, but when I exercise my weight loss slows to a crawl. I have no idea why, but it happens to me every single time. But take heart! There is a way to still see some progress without using the scale. Take measurements! Waist, hips, chest, calf, arm and thigh- or any part you are interested in and measure every one or two weeks. Since I’ve started doing the weight machines, I’ve already lost an inch off my waist and a half inch off my hips. Considering I don’t have much of a waist, that is huge for me.

My last little bit of wisdom:

You can only get what you want by moving outside of your comfort zone.

I am so guilty of this and I know I am not alone, because I see it all the time in the gym and life in general. We only go so far and then it’s like we hit an invisible barrier. “Eh…that’s good enough” and stop. Some book I read said something like the most effective leaders are the ones who are comfortable going into the unknown. Because that’s what it’s about really, isn’t it? That fear that we might fail or, God forbid, succeed and then what? Will people cheer us? Or abandon us? Or maybe they’ll expect us to always succeed and what if we can’t live up to our own new standard? So it seems easier to remain where we are. But if you really want something, the only way to get it is to tell those voices to cram it, push forward into that unknown and take it. It’s hard, scary and takes commitment, but if you want it bad enough then that’s what it takes. It is the rare person who is handed everything they want with no work. Besides, you don’t want to be that person, because everyone hates those people and we like you!

Have a great week!